India's growing economy has created a paradoxical health problem of undernutrition and obesity. Across the nation, the poor go hungry while the expanding middle class adopt a Westernized lifestyle and indulge in fast food. Heath officials have warned that rising obesity rates, which can spur increases in diabetes and heart disease, could overwhelm the country's already overburdened health-care system.
To address India's dual health burden, Stanford researcher Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, has joined forces with colleagues across disciplines to better understand the seemingly opposing issues of undernutrition and obesity and to develop nutrition policies aimed at reducing the public health concerns. According to a release:
Bringing his own expertise in mathematical modeling, Goldhaber-Fiebert is working with the group to consider the patterns of future illness and death due to undernutrition and obesity. The researchers would like to know how economic and demographic changes will impact these trends. Ultimately, broadly delivered nutrition policies will have to address undernutrition and obesity issues without exacerbating either one... Although currently focused on India, the research will have broad implications for many other countries that face the undernutrition/obesity dual burden.
The research is funded by a Woods Institute Environmental Venture Projects grant.
Photo by McKay Savage